in Knossos & the Prophets of Modernism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226289533
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226289557 | DOI:

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This chapter concludes with the gradual scholarly dismantling of the pacifist vision of ancient Crete, culminating in the “Minoan Roads Program” of the 1980s and 1990s, during which archaeologists explored a network of fortifications in eastern Crete. The story of modernist Knossos began to address some of the weightiest themes of modernity: the death of God, the woman question, and the human appetite for war. Arthur Evans's yearly reenactment of the labyrinth dance came more and more to resemble the haunting vision of ancient peace that Achilles carried onto the battlefields of Troy. Jane Ellen Harrison brought Evans and Friedrich Nietzsche together in the service of a feminist prophecy of future liberation. The reconstruction of Knossos anticipated some of the political contradictions of the present predicament. Evans was one of the prophets of essentialism who attempted to align his claims with more robust moral and political imperatives than mere biological nihilism.

Keywords: ancient Crete; Knossos; modernity; Arthur Evans; Jane Ellen Harrison; Friedrich Nietzsche; labyrinth dance

Chapter.  2868 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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